2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 14 Oct 2002 22:04:19 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Woodley's letters
Last Friday (October 11, 2002) CPEO posted the text of two letters from
Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environment) John Paul
Woodley, Jr. The letters, dated October 4, 2002, were addressed to
Assistant EPA Administrator (Office of Solid Waste and Emergency
Response) Marianne Horinko and California official Stan Phillippe, who
serves as Chair of the Federal Facilities Subcommittee of the
Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials.
The letters sought to resolve the growing dispute between the Defense
Department and its environmental regulators over the degree to which
regulators could enforce environmental cleanup requirements after the
signing of Records of Decision (RODs). That dispute reportedly was
holding up the signing of new RODS at Defense facilities throughout the country.

Woodley appears to address regulators' primary concern in his letter to
the states. He wrote, "Unequivocally, CERCLA [the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act] applies in an
enforceable manner to us in the post-ROD phases of remedial
implementation, operation and maintenance, and review." To EPA he
stated, "Surely we do not assert that EPA's role at a contamination site
governed by CERCLA, in which the remedy chosen involves long-term
stewardship to protect the public health from toxic releases, is one of
consultation alone."

Woodley clarified that the purpose of controversial memos, from his
office, the Army, and Air Force, was to ensure that disputes over
long-term management at cleanup sites not prevent the implementation of
physical remedies. Horinko agreed to this principle in a July 29, 2002
letter to Woodley.

Furthermore, he stated, "It is DoD's view that we collectively need to
re-focus our environmental restoration program upon substantive
performance of the remedial action and away from resource intensive
document preparation and review that is costly and time consuming
without commensurate environmental and human health benefit." 

He also wrote, "Our engagement with EPA and States, therefore, has
centered less on technical designations of respective post-ROD
authorities and more on a systemic evolution of the cleanup process
towards performance, efficiency and transparency. We have sought to
incorporate the post-ROD phases of remedial actions into the ROD itself
by ensuring ROD provisions fully focus on and capture essential
performance requirements and factors...." Woodley praised agreements at
Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts and Travis Air Force Base,
California, based on this "performance-based" formula.

Noting DOD's desire that the requirements of its cleanup program match
those covering EPA-led and private CERCLA sites, Woodley recommended to
EPA, "As our approach to long-term stewardship matures, I recommend the
development of a rule of general applicability under CERCLA to address
these issues globally."


Woodley's olive branch is welcome. I hope that it not only helps
resolves the dispute over enforcement and long-term stewardship, but
that it starts to rebuild the level of trust among cleanup stakeholders.
I share his belief that performance, not the generation and review of
documents, should guide the military's cleanup program. Obviously - I
think all parties agree - performance responsibilities still need to be
agreed upon, in writing.

I also like his suggestion that EPA work with the Defense Department -
and presumably others - to develop a rule governing long-term
stewardship. I believe that such a rule should set standards to be met
by any entity promising to conduct long-term monitoring, and that one of
those standards be the capability and capacity to modify remedies should
they prove unprotective, should long-term operations appear unlikely to
reach remedial objectives, or if research and development makes better
alternatives feasible.



Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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